Researcher Diaries: Market assessment of agricultural products in Togo
07.12.2022 The latest Researcher Diary features Katharina Ineichen, a BFH-HAFL bachelor’s student in International Agriculture.
It was a beautiful sunny morning in the village of Donomadé, Southern Togo, and another day of interviewing farmers for my bachelor thesis.
During my field work, I had the chance to visit different farmers in their homes to conduct fruitful interviews. We had rich and informative conversations, as well as overall enriching and warm encounters. Those shared moments were great opportunities for me to get to better know the farmers and their lives. The interviews and the collaboration with the villagers offered me great insights into smallholder agriculture in Togo. I was able to learn a lot about the cultivation of different crops and their traditional processing; for example, the processing of red oil as shown in the picture. I could also go deeper into aspects of social and economic importance for various products.
Interviews with farmers
The field assignment was carried out as part of the work of “Étoile verte” and "Happy Togo" - two sister public sector organisations that established and continuously support a research model farm in the village of Donomadé. The aim of the model farm is to encourage agroecological practices.
A goal of "Étoile verte" and its research and model farm "FeMoDo" is to increase the farmers` income by developing a functioning agricultural cooperative in Donomadé. The cooperative should improve access to economically interesting markets for farmers. My bachelor thesis is closely related to this, in that it assesses the market potential of three different products - pineapple, passionfruit and oil palm - which are all produced by the farmers in Donomadé.
To gather specific knowledge about the selected produce, I conducted interviews with local farmers. I also used other appropriate research methods, such as expert interviews, literature searches and visits to different markets to interview local vendors and retailers. The manifold experiences gained during my field assignment have taught me to adapt and be inventive in finding solutions, especially when it comes to data collection.
My field assignment in Togo and working on my bachelor thesis enabled me to learn a lot of new things, both technical and methodological, and to gain many wonderful experiences, which I will always think back on fondly.
The Researcher Diaries series provides photo snapshots and testimonials from researchers and students participating in BFH-HAFL and partner projects in the field all over the world.